As gardeners, we never want the gardening season to come to an end. But, we must welcome the coming cold months by preparing our gardens for winter. Follow the tips below for a few good basic steps in preparing your beloved garden for the coming chill:
Dig up tender bulbs (dalhias, cannas, etc.) for storage until next year
As perennials quit blooming or die back, trim the dead foliage. You can compost the healthy trimmings to continue the cycle of nature.
But, some perennials, if left alone, look great as winter interest and/or provide winter food for wildlife.
Clean away any and all diseased plants and dropped leaves. It will make next year's gardening that much easier.
If you live in an area with cold winters but not much snow as protection, mulching in the fall will protect your plant investments.
Vegetable gardens are best completely cleared up to prevent any disease or pest overwintering.
Move your indoor foliage plants back inside before even the first light frost.
And, don't forget your gardening tools. A thorough cleaning and sharpening now will save valuable time next spring.
Many perennial gardens peter out in mid-summer and limp into the fall, tattered, overgrown and virtually devoid of bloom. The traditional potted chrysanthemums and ornamental kale or cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) offer autumn freshness and color, but several late-blooming perennials can do the job equally well, if not better.
This group of late bloomers includes reliable plants such as tall Sedum 'Autumn Joy', a garden workhorse whose rosy broccoli-like flowers are bee magnets in the fall. Newer sedum selections, such as 'Matrona' and 'Black Jack' with their burgundy-tinged foliage and 'Frosty Morn' with its green-and-white variegation, offer extra interest.
There are more than 700 kinds of tomatoes to choose from, so let’s just review the basic types. Take a look at this short list of just a few to see how many you know and love (and are in your garden):
Globe: Big, round and oh, so red. These are the all-purpose tomatoes that most people think of for slicing. Tasty varieties like Beefsteak, Rutgers and Brandywine range from typical palm-size up to two pounds.
Plum Tomatoes: The name describes shape and size. These “saucy” beauties offer a tangy taste, fewer seeds, and meatier texture. Try good old Roma, the classic sauce and paste tomato. You won't be disappointed.
Cherry (or Pear): Roughly cherry size, sweet and juicy, these tomatoes are aptly named and produce clusters of delicious fruit that’s almost like candy. Try the Sweet 100 variety!
Heirloom or Hybrid? It’s not too complicated. Heirloom tomatoes are old varieties that produce viable seeds you can grow more of the same tomatoes from. Some say they have the absolute best flavor when picked at the right time. Hybrid varieties have been specially developed for desirable characteristics. Either way, you can't go wrong.
Vine or Bush? It’s a matter of space—vines ramble. What suits your garden?
Early or Late-Season Varieties? Heartier plants that can go into the ground sooner, let you harvest earlier. Choose both kinds and harvest well into Autumn!
If you think annuals are only for flowerbeds, you’re missing out. Wherever you grow annuals, they will reward you with beautiful colors, bright foliage, and soothing fragrances all season long. But when you plant them in containers, they provide even more benefits.
5 Reasons to Grow Annuals in Containers:
Experiment with different types of plant combinations
Get creative with what you plant them in
Can move containers around to the ideal location
It’s easy to do—even for beginners & kids!
Perfect for those with limited gardening time or space